Phil's not an 'idiot' this week, and more random thoughts from Merion
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Here are my random thoughts after 36 holes at Merion for the 113th U.S. Open. Picture them as a cross between a pack of stray dogs and Phil Mickelson tee shots at Winged Foot...
- Mike Weir is paired with John Peter and Simon Khan in the third round. Hopefully, Weir will be on his best behavior and not risk ... The Wrath of Khan. Beam me up, Scotty. This course sucks.
- Ryan Yip didn't make the cut at the Open. If he ever develops the yips with his putter, I'm pretty sure he's not going to call them that.
- I can only take so much of the USGA constantly harping on the traditions of the U.S. Open. When Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate tied after 18 holes in a Monday playoff, they went to No. 7 for sudden death, not No. 1. And here we are at Merion. It's Saturday and they're still going off in threesomes on two tees. Even better, they're going off No. 1 and No. 11. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. And The Wrath of Khan.
- It's almost surprising to me that Scott Stallings doesn't play slow.
- I'm not a huge fan of Josh Teater. I'm more a leg man.
- One of my favorite quotes Friday was from Russell Knox of Scotland: "It's not very often you hit everything flush and shoot five over." That's the Open.
- I hope Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano gets back on the front page of the leaderboard this weekend. To fit his name on the electronic scoreboard in the media center, they have to reduce the font size of the letters in his name to such a big degree, it looks like a warning label on the scoreboard.
- It seems like Tiger Woods hasn't done all that much so far, yet only 12 players are teeing off behind him today. Ditto for Rory. And double ditto for Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.
- Logistics is supposedly the reason why the players' locker room and practice range is a mile down the road on the West Course and the media center is out beyond the 16th tee instead of near the clubhouse. That huge tent practically attached to the clubhouse, which would've been perfect for the players or the media? Uh, that's Member Hospitality. Gee, I sure hope they don't choke on their strawberry daiquiris today.
- Phil Mickelson isn't carrying a driver in his bag this week. That would not have been an idiot move at Winged Foot, in retrospect.
- Sergio Garcia is eight over par on three holes this week but only six over par for the tournament. That's like the old vaudeville joke about the guy telling his doctor he broke his leg in three places. Then stay out of those places, the doctor replies.
- The cut at Merion for the 1981 Open was seven over par. The cut this week is eight over par. And those guys in '81 were driving Model-T Fords, solving math problems with slide rules, using clubs made of wood and wound balls with liquid centers and wondering why Joe Garagiola didn't have his own talk show.
- I've been watching the replays of Tiger Woods hitting out of the rough here and then wincing and bending his elbow. And now my wrist hurts.
- It's hard to say which is more incredible in that Carl Pettersson video, that someone else's stray shot actually hit his ball, or that someone else's stray shot actually hit his ball just as he was starting to swing at it. This video is nuttier and more mesmerizing as any of those cats playing pianos on YouTube.
- The USGA has a new initiative designed to combat slow play and a new ad campaign. It's based on the Rodney Dangerfield line from Caddyshack where he tells the dawdling Judge Smails, "While we're young!" I like that the USGA is going pop-culture contemporary. Caddyshack was released in 1980, one year before the last time Merion hosted an Open. Too bad they couldn't get some hip young comedian to star in it like Joan Rivers.
- This weekend's Open play features players from such foreign places as Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Korea, Japan, Belgium, Chinese Taipei, Bagdad and Auburn, Ala. FYI, that's Badgad, Fla. Still counts as a foreign place, though.
- The three tough closing holes at Merion cry out for a nickname. My first effort, The Three Twins of Merion, hasn't caught on. So now I'm trying out The Merionettes.
Have a nice day. Unless you're in Member Hospitality.